It is not possible to prevent cardiomyopathy, but there are steps we can take to lower our risk for heart problems and other conditions that can lead to cardiomyopathy or make it worse. We all should strive to eat a healthy diet, get regular exercise (unless our doctor has advised against it), not smoke, limit alcohol intake and see a healthcare professional regularly. These heart-healthy habits may slow the development of cardiomyopathy and certainly support good overall cardiovascular health.
Depending on the type of cardiomyopathy and how it is progressing, your healthcare team may recommend different treatment options. In addition to maintaining a heart-healthy lifestyle, your team will prescribe medications to help manage your risk factors for heart disease. The team may also discuss procedures or surgeries for your cardiomyopathy or for controlling its symptoms.
Medications for Cardiomyopathy
A number of different medications may be prescribed to treat cardiomyopathy. These may include the following:
Procedures & Surgeries for Cardiomyopathy
Some surgical options exist for treatment of cardiomyopathy and its symptoms:
- Coronary artery bypass surgery: For people whose heart dysfunction is due to extensive blockages of the heart arteries, restoring blood flow may help improve heart muscle function. During coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG), a cardiothoracic surgeon sews portions of your own artery or vein from the aorta to the heart artery, beyond the blockage. This creates a bypass, or detour, around the blockage and restores flow to the heart muscle. You can learn more about CABG surgery here.
- Implanted devices include pacemakers to help the heart stay in normal rhythm and cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) devices to help coordinate the heart’s pumping activity. Another implantable unit is the left ventricular assist device (LVAD), which assists the heart in pumping blood effectively. An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) helps control arrhythmias that could lead to sudden cardiac arrest. You can learn more about several of these implantable devices that support the heart here.
- Heart transplant: When there is no other treatment option available, the healthcare team may recommend that the only option to prevent death is removing the patient’s diseased heart and replacing it with a healthy heart from a donor. You can learn more about heart transplantation here.
- Septal myectomy: This type of open-heart surgery may be used for patients who have obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and severe symptoms. You can learn more about septal myectomy here.
- Alcohol septal ablation is a minimally invasive procedure for obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. A specially trained interventional cardiologist guides a small tube through the blood vessels to the heart and applies a tiny amount of alcohol to kill the extra cells in the heart that are causing the symptoms of the cardiomyopathy. For more information about alcohol septal ablation, click here.
To learn more about cardiomyopathies, including how they are diagnosed, visits the SecondsCount Cardiomyopathies Center here.